Banned Books Week: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

October 5, 2012 Banned Books, Classics, Dystopian 25

Hello Bookworms! It’s Friday, and thus we have reached the end of Banned Books Week. We’re going out with a disaster scenario and talking about Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

This book has been challenged countless times. According to the ALA website, these complaints typically take issue with this book’s excessive violence, bad language, and racial and sexual slurs. Seriously though. Have you heard pre-pubescent boys talk? It’s not gratuitous, it’s just realistic. Parents, please remove the sticks from your backsides and let your kids learn something. It’s allegorical, you really can’t HELP but learn from it.

Lord of the Flies takes place on an uninhabited island. A plane evacuating a group of British school boys from an unspecified war zone crashes. The pilot and all adult chaperones are killed and the boys are left to fend for themselves. The story that follows explores the thin veil of civilization… And the all encompassing power of bacon. (I’m not even kidding about the bacon.) It also contributed to my fear of children in large groups. That and Children of the Corn. So. Many. Nightmares.

So. There’s a group of school boys stranded on an island. They have no supervision, no supplies, and no idea what to do next. It’s decided that a little boy named Jack Shephard Ralph will lead the group because he found a conch shell that can be used as a horn to call the group together (and why not? I’m sure some politicians these days lack such a qualification.) Ralph is followed around by a boy called  Hurley Piggy. Poor Piggy. He’s a chubby kid with asthma and spectacles. This was written so long before the outcry on bullying, but by God, this kid. He’ll break your heart.

Remember how they have no food? They discover that there are some wild pigs on the island (mmmm bacon) and Ralph organizes a hunting party. This is his downfall, because his hunting party fails. The Others A rival faction takes root and its leader, Benjamin Linus Jack, manages to kill a pig. Coup de’ bacon, as it were. Ralph couldn’t bring home the bacon, Jack could, and the fickle boys changed allegiance to follow the boy who fed them. Makes sense, right?

This is where it all goes terribly wrong. Jack is an asshole. Maybe he wasn’t hugged enough as a child. I imagine hugs are somewhat lacking in boarding schools. He’s a bully of epic proportions. He turns the whole gang of boys against poor Piggy in order to steal his glasses. The reasoning behind the theft is that the tribe needs the spectacles to start fires (but you know a jerk weasel like Jack really just wanted them so he could fry ants.) The boys hunt Piggy down, and in the heat of their feral moment, sacrifice him to the smoke monster kill him by dropping a boulder on his head. (Poor Piggy!!!!) They then set their sights on Ralph, who takes off to the forest to hide. Jack the Dictator decides it’s a great idea to burn down the forest to smoke Ralph out.

Oh irony! The fire they set to capture Ralph is the very same fire that signals a ship to their position.  The boys rescued by a naval officer who obviously has no idea of the level of depravity these boys have displayed. He takes one look at their tribal chaos and gives them a stern “I would have expected better of British boys.” And that’s the end! For real. How could these kids not be outrageously screwed up from this? Hello, PTSD! That’s one thing I loved about The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins gave us closure, and not just a happy ending. Katniss and Peeta have serious psychological issues that follow them for the rest of their lives. I imagine it will be similar for many of the boys on this island. Except Jack. He’ll probably turn into a serial killer. I hate that kid.

So Bookworms, what do you think? What would it take for society to break down and chaos to reign? Zombies? Massive prolonged power outage? A Category 5 Hurricane? I’m seeking a friend for the end of the world, y’all. Tell me things!

Who am I kidding? We ALL know it’s gonna be Aliens.

…My husband helped write this post. He kept thinking I was writing a book report on Lost. Not that book reports about TV shows are a thing… But I may have humored him a little. Silly husband… I’m pretty sure he’s an alien.

25 Responses to “Banned Books Week: Lord of the Flies by William Golding”

  1. Sami

    I remember having to read this book in school and being so pissed off! It sucks to have to read a book about bullies when you are entrenched in 8th/9th grade hell. If Jack had gotten what he deserved in the end I might have liked it a little better. I am a fan of the happy ending…in books just to clarify…not that I’m not under other circumstances…I’m stopping now.

    • Words for Worms

      That’s a good point- Jack never did get what was coming to him. At least not that we saw. I figure he’ll eventually be killed in a bar fight or something. Perhaps his old crew will exact revenge and surreptitiously throw him overboard. It could happen. I write mental post scripts to books all the time, especially when I’m not satisfied with the ending.

          • the undeniable anglophile

            Yeah, Juvie for sure, but not the same punishment as what an adult would get, definitely. And also, I actually think that this stuff would have happened with adults too. Because I think that it wasn’t that kids are creepy by nature, it’s that as all of us grow older, we start changing and affecting the kids, and it becomes a cycle. I think that, even though we try to tell ourselves that we aren’t, there is a monster inside each of us, but we just know how to control how we feel. We’re smart enough to not let any of it show, but I think that the kids don’t really hide it as well as us. What do you think?

  2. Sami

    If you ever want to read the worst book ever try Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I happen to watch the movie…called Jude…because it had Kate Winslet in it. If you are just too happy one day and really need to tone it down check this one out. Thomas Hardy isn’t known for his happy endings but this one takes the cake.

  3. The Old Man

    Jack became a lawyer and eventually was found stone cold dead at his desk when his secretary opened the office one morning. He was apparently working late on a juicy divorce case. Karma can be a bitch.

  4. didibooksenglish

    God we could all learn something from this story! Fancy banning it? What’s that all about? It could probably save us a few serial killers. Kids these days say a lot worse than what’s in this book. Not sure I’ll re-read it soon. I remember how it ends and it’ll just piss me off and I really don’t want to be anymore pissed off than I already am. Great post!

  5. Lyssapants

    SUCKS TO YOUR ASSMAR! (<–one of my favorite lines from a book, like, ever.)
    I just frolicked on the beach in Puerto Rico where the movie for this book was filmed. No one was harmed in the making of the frolick.

    And as for your question….uh, it wouldn't take much. Who's to say it isn't already happening?

    • Words for Worms

      I’m jealous of your beach frolicking. Perhaps “civilization” is crumbling. You have a bug out bag ready for Dec 21? (Yes. I have watched Doomsday Preppers. No, I have never tried to can my own meat… Or anything else for that matter.)

  6. Neha S

    Amazing book. It challenges your thinking and it is very thought provoking, and it gives you a different perspective on humanity and an insight into the dark side of society and individuals.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.